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Town Retreats and Oasis Camp Moves to Chaminade

At the last meeting of the North Hempstead Town Board, John Fehling, of New Hyde Park, was on hand to represent the more than 800 residents who signed a petition, presented to the town, to prevent the town from putting Oasis Camp members at Clinton G. Martin Pool, on the corner of New Hyde Park Road and Marcus Avenue, New Hyde Park.

Clinton G. Martin Pool is owned by the town, but imposes a special district tax charged to the residents of New Hyde Park to support the pool. This year, because an early payment fee was removed, residents had to pay an increase in the fee. Residents must, therefore, pay that special tax and they are then guaranteed, with their guests, exclusive use of the pool.

The town, therefore, proposed to use the pool, to accommodate the use of Oasis camp goers for swim lessons, originally scheduled for Michael J. Tully Pool. However, Tully pool renovations are not completed, as had been planned, and the facility was not available to the camp.

Town of North Hempstead Councilman Angelo Ferrara, from New Hyde Park, stepped in when he heard of the conflict, and contacted Chaminade High School, which has a pool in its new athletic facility on Jericho Turnpike in Mineola and they agreed to allow Oasis Camp to use their pool for its swim lessons.

However, supervisor Kaiman commented, “The petition that was circulated, I believe, misrepresented the situation and it stated that taxpayer dollars were going to fund children who were going to be bused in from Elmont and Hempstead.”

Fehling said that was not so and read the petition as follows, “We the undersigned, as taxpayers within the special park district known as the Clinton G. Martin Park District, do not want non-residents using our pool facilities unless specifically invited by and paid for as daily user, accompanied by a paid member of the Clinton Martin Pool. This includes, but is not limited to all day camps, tennis camps, etc.” He added, “That’s the petition and there is not anything in there that is offensive.”

Kaiman agreed commenting, “No there is not.”

Fehling added, “If you had come to us. Come down and talk to us about this stuff and maybe something could have been worked out. But, you don’t do that in the Town of North Hempstead when it comes to the south side or the New Hyde Park area. We are part of the Town of North Hempstead. We were divided into three districts. You chopped us into three parts. You took what used to be a coherent neighborhood and we became a minority in each of these three districts. We have had it! I can’t say everything has been bad with the town. We had an issue with street sweepers, but it was resolved with discussion, this issue was not.”

Town supervisor Jon Kaiman added that the camp fee would have provided $10,000 to $15,000 to the town to use, in a few years, to upgrade the Clinton G. Martin pool. However, that fact did not sway the residents of New Hyde Park.

Jerome Galluscio, a New Hyde Park resident, was the next to be heard on the subject.

He said, “I would like to say that it is offensive that a camp company would come into New Hyde Park and use our pool. I have no idea how many people are coming to our pool. My point is I don’t think it is fair that we are not given any information. You say now that the camp goers spend all day at a pool. In other words, this is a camp that does not own any land and they make all their money by having a little office in Brooklyn, but have no land. I have never heard of a camp that has no land. They go out, put a little ad in the newspaper and say come to our camp and then we pay their entire freight. They pay us a fee and they rent the pool and pay a nominal fee that we pay taxes on all year long. It doesn’t matter which pool it is, Tully Pool, we pay for that pool, too.”

Galluscio said, “I don’t get the point of why we have a guy, from Brooklyn who has a camp, with no land, who comes to our park. The kids come and they play and then all winter long I get to pay for the park and then he gets to use our pool and all winter long the pool is closed.”

Councilman Tom Dwyer added, “Mr. Galluscio, I think you are going to find that, in every town, in every county, in every state you are going to see the same type of situation where camps come and pay for the service of running a camp there.”

Kaiman added, “It offsets the taxpayer dollars. I appreciate that the people in the community would not like a camp coming into their district. But, the rationale is simply there was a need because the original agreement could not sustain it. Also, it was an opportunity for the district to bring in thousands of dollars to offset other costs. Some folks would say, forget it, we would rather pay those extra costs because it is not overwhelming to us. and it is not worth the inconvenience of the whole idea that people who don’t live in the district could come into this park. I can tell you when Tully Park closed, the Town of Hempstead offered its pool, which is only used by residents of the Town of Hempstead to North Hempstead residents. Generally speaking governments want to help out neighbors. Neighbors help neighbors and since this camp primarily serves local children and the fact that the company is from Brooklyn, I understand that might bother you and other folks. But, the camp does serve local children, not necessarily local to the district, but nonetheless local. I understand that this district says we would rather not have them here and apparently, Chaminade has agreed to accommodate the children.”

Other Town Business

Kevin Kelly Appointed

In other business the town appointed Kevin Kelly as Deputy Commissioner of Park and Recreation working with Commissioner Gerard R. Olsen.

Rafe Lieber Appointed

Rafe Lieber was appointed as Director of the Office of Intermunicipal Coordination, a new post for the town.

The next North Hempstead Town Board Meeting will be held on July 13 at 7:30 p.m. at North Hempstead Town Hall, Plandome Road, Manhasset.